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Alex, who tells his own life story throughout the film (Voiceover), is the leader of a youth gang and also a passionate Beethoven lover. The gang live in a desolate future suburb of London. She uses an idiosyncratic language, a jargon interspersed with chunks of Russian and Cockney slang – “Nadsat”. Their lives revolve around violence against the defenseless, fights with other gangs, robberies and rapes. For Alex in particular, money seems to play a subordinate role. Celebrating and enjoying the violent excesses with relish is the priority for the leader of the gang. The four of them mistreat a defenseless old tramp. That same night, masked, they break into the villa of the writer Frank Alexander and his wife. Alex rapes the woman after calmly undressing her with scissors while singing Singin' in the Rain while simultaneously kicking and hitting her husband to the beat of the song.
Over time, the group begins to struggle. Alex's management style becomes too authoritarian for the others, and the raids don't make enough money for them. Alex can temporarily consolidate his rule by putting his two critics in their place with the most brutal methods; He hits one of them violently in the groin and slashes the other's hand. And with a relaxed "debate" afterwards, he believes he has clarified the balance of power in his own way. In one of the next raids, however, the long foreseeable happens. After breaking into the house of a single woman ("Cat Woman"), who brutally kills Alex with a large penis sculpture, his "droogs" (nadsat: "friends") hit him in the face with a milk bottle after leaving the house . As a result, his eyesight is disturbed for a short time and the police, who had previously been called by the woman, can arrest him without any problems. Alex is sentenced to 14 years in prison for murder.
There he fawned over the prison pastor for the first two years. During a visit from the Minister of the Interior, he is promptly selected as a test subject for a newly developed aversion therapy. The government, faced with overcrowded prisons, hopes that this so-called “Ludovico technique” will help criminals to rehabilitate themselves. In the Ludovico medical facility, Alex is repeatedly forced into a cinema seat in a white straitjacket, exposed to brutal films for hours on end with his eyes forced open by clamps on his eyelids, with a pre-administered serum supposed to induce severe nausea at the sight of violence. He should be conditioned step by step to the point that he can no longer endure physical and sexual violence.
At the end of the 14-day therapy, Alex is discharged as supposedly cured. However, the effects of therapy are ambiguous; at the slightest thought of violence or sexual desire, he is overcome by nausea, acute nausea and great pain. Alex is now seemingly defenseless and without will. As an unintended side effect, these symptoms also occur when listening to Beethoven's 9th Symphony, the background music during one of the psychotherapy conditioning sessions.
After his release, Alex finds out that his parents have given his room to a lodger named Joe. The violence he once used against others is now falling back more and more on himself: by the Thames he meets the old tramp whom he once beat up with his gang and who now takes his anger out on him with other homeless people. Alex is rescued by two police officers, who then turn out to be his two old "droogs". They take revenge on him by driving him into the forest, keeping him under water in a cattle trough for a minute while beating him with rubber clubs. Injured, Alex can drag himself to a villa without realizing that it is the home of the writer Alexander. The kicks and punches at the time made the writer an invalid and he has to sit in a wheelchair; his wife took her own life as a result of the humiliation caused by the rape.
Alexander initially views Alex as a victim of the government, grooms him and plans to use him in a political campaign against the incumbent government. But when Alex sings the song Singin' in the Rain in the bathtub and rhythmically bangs his hand in the water, the writer realizes: it was Alex who attacked him and his wife. After the bath, the writer, who is now plotting revenge, gives him a portion of spaghetti and a bottle of wine. Together with friends whom he has summoned, he asks him about the details of the psychotherapy and its consequences. They also find out what the 9th symphony has triggered in him since the conditioning, lock Alex, who has been stunned by the prepared wine, in a room on the upper floor and play the 9th symphony loudly, which Alex can no longer stand - he doesn't want to anymore live and throws himself out of the window.
Alex wakes up in a hospital badly injured. He thinks he remembers having a brain operation, but the psychiatrist reassures him that it was just a dream. He can now listen to Beethoven again without pain. The government, which fears for re-election because of the known side effects of Alex's conditioning in the current election campaign, is using this to catch votes with his "healing" in front of the running camera. The film ends with a sex scene in the snow in front of applauding onlookers, apparently a vision of Alex, intoxicated by the music, and with his words: "I was healed, all right".